BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A largely Pro-Maccabi Tel Aviv crowd witnessed the first 2014-2015 preseason win for the Brooklyn Nets, as the Nets crushed the Israeli team 111-94 at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn went out to an early 10-2 run and never trailed, holding off one quick second-quarter spurt by Tel Aviv, who threatened the Nets’ second unit with transition points and quick cuts but fell to the talented Nets starters.
The crowd cheered heartily for Tel Aviv all night, with “TEL A-VIV” the most common refrain heard in the arena, and even created some controversy, with one group pulling out a “We Are Brooklyn” banner with the words crossed out. Security quickly removed the banner.
Six Nets scored in double figures, led by Brook Lopez, who scored 20 points on 8-12 shooting in 23 minutes in his first action against a professional team since breaking his foot last December. Lopez looked like his dominant offensive self early, scoring six quick points inside with a spin move in the post, a foul drawn, and a face-up jumper, and continued to score with his brute strength & length alone. He also played deep into the fourth quarter, perhaps a bit deeper than expected.
Deron Williams, who famously struggled with balky ankles last season, also looked fully healthy and quick against Tel Aviv’s guards, finishing with 17 points on 7-11 shooting in 28 minutes, hitting his last four shots. Williams looked comfortable dribbling the ball but didn’t appear to be playing at full speed, hitting a few mid-range jumpers and only attacking the lane when it was wide open.
Before the game, Lionel Hollins said he’d play his starters more in this first game than in the rest of preseason, and he was true to his word: he didn’t make a single substitution until 3:45 had passed in the first quarter. Last year, Kevin Garnett usually didn’t play beyond the first four minutes, six at the most. Garnett finished with just over 19 minutes in the game, below his season average last year but above what you’d expect from a preseason game.
Alan Anderson, who played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in 2009-2010, did not play with a sore abdominal muscle, while non-guaranteed players Jorge Gutierrez, Jerome Jordan, and Willie Reed all did not play.